A Heathfield woman is backing a national campaign to ban a medical procedure in the UK after suffering serious complications from the operation.
Claire Cooper underwent the TVT mesh sling operation in November 2008 after four years of suffering bad stress incontinence.
Three years after her operation, the mother-of-two had another operation that used high heat close to her sling and since then, she has been the victim of a catastrophic chain of events leading to lifelong, life-altering pain.
The 40-year-old said: “Initially, I had a few minor side effects from the sling but other than those, I was very pleased.
“Around this same time, I was also being treated for heavy periods and in 2011, it was suggested I had a thermal Endometrial Ablation using the balloon and boiling water method, which took place in November 2011.
“A day later, my nightmare began. I have never experienced tearing, sickening pain like it. Weeks went by, and then months, and despite procedure after procedure and subsequent time off from work, I was no better.
“I had a hysterectomy on January 24, 2013 and it was a total abdominal type, taking my cervix too. After a few weeks post op, it was clear I was in more pain than ever and I became desperate.
“I left employment in January 2014. I felt my life was over.
“I heard a feature on the TVT implants and the main speaker was Dr Sohier Elneil, a consultant urogynecologist. I contacted Dr Elneil and she agreed to see me. Very quickly, she diagnosed a very damaged sling and explained why.
“Because they are made of polypropylene plastic, they shrink with heat.
“And of course, I’d had the high-heat thermal ablation very close to it.
“On May 19, I was admitted for partial removal surgery. It was found that the mesh had indeed shrunk to a stiff cheese wire and sliced through muscle, nerves and tissues before embedding itself.
“I then embarked on a series of degrading tests to see what was working and what wasn’t, and then wait for my tissue to heal enough to have repair surgery. I am now recovering from that surgery but my agony remains the same. I am maimed, pained and am half the women I once was.”
Claire is now backing a national campaign called Sling the Mesh to have the procedure stopped in England and Wales, as it was in Scotland last year.
The campaign also wants the risks to be fully explained to patients and a national register to be launched to track all future problems.
Visit https://slingthemesh.wordpress.com for details.